CHAPTER V. THE FIRST TERRITORIAL LEGISLATURE.
The Legislature, as before stated, convened on September 26th, 1864, but on account of the absence of some of the members of each house, it was adjourned from day to day until September 29th, when the Secretary of the Territory, Richard C. McCormick, read the proclamation of the Governor, announcing to both houses the election of the members of the Legislative Assembly, and convening the same, and a permanent organization was effected by the election of Coles Bashford, as President of the Council, Almon Gage, as Secretary, Edmund W. Wells, Jr., Assistant Secretary, and Carlos Smith as Sergeant at Arms, and in the house W. Claude Jones was elected Speaker, James Anderson, Chief Clerk, Clayton M. Ralstin, Assistant Clerk, and John C. Dunn, Sergeant at Arms. Neri Osborn was appointed Messenger of the Council, and John B. Osborn, Messenger of the House.
“As the representatives of the people of Arizona, elected in accordance with the provisions of its organic law, you are this day convened in Legislative Assembly. Accept my congratulations, that with the organization of your body the territorial government is inaugurated in all its branches and rests on the foundation of the will and power of the people. The law organizing the territory of New Mexico, which is made a part of the organic law of Arizona, provides that ’the legislative power and authority shall be vested in the Legislative Assembly, and the Governor, and shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation, consistent with its provisions and the constitution of the United States; and all laws passed by them shall be binding unless disapproved by Congress.’
“Their record either to our glory or shame will soon be made, and impartial history will render a verdict, from which there is no appeal. It is in our power by wise, just, and liberal legislation, to advance this territory far onward in the race for empire; or by regarding only the selfish promptings of the present, and ignoring the logic of events, forgetting the teachings of the past, and the grand anticipations of the future, to impede its prosperity and retard its progress. We are entrusted not only with the present interests of a small constituency, and amenable to them alone, but we are the trustees of posterity, and responsible to the millions who in all time shall come after us. The saints and martyrs of liberty, who founded the Republic, have given us in trust the greatest blessings that can be bestowed upon men—civil and religious liberty—it is our duty as legislators to transmit this gift to our successors unimpaired. The constitution of the United States, which is the ark of our liberties, and the organic law giving vitality to our acts, are the guides and limits to our legislation.
“Happily for our action there is abundant precedent. We have the teachings of the fathers, and can follow in the way marked out by the men of the revolution, and consecrated with their blood; it is not obscured by time but shines more luminous in the light of the ages. Wherever the principles they declared have been established, freedom of political and religious thought and action have been enjoyed, and education, enterprise and civilization have advanced.
“May the Supreme Law-giver of the universe, ‘whose service is perfect freedom,’ give us the wisdom, fitly and in the spirit of his teachings, to make the laws of this new state forever consecrated as the home of free men.
“The act establishing a temporary government for the territory of Arizona provides, ‘That the act organizing the territory of New Mexico, and acts amendatory thereto, together with all legislative enactments of the territory of New Mexico, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby extended to, and continued in force in said Territory of Arizona, until repealed or amended by future legislation.’ I have examined the statutes of New Mexico with some care, and am of opinion that however satisfactory such a code of laws might be to a people homogeneous and accustomed to its workings, but few of the provisions are adapted to our condition, wants or necessities, and that an entire and radical change will be needed. In making such change it will of course be provided that no rights acquired under these enactments will be impaired thereby, and that all proceedings instituted under them may survive and be prosecuted to final judgment. And it is suggested, that however imperfect the statutes of New Mexico may be, only such changes as are absolutely necessary, be made in the ordinary course of legislation, and that the general provisions be suffered to remain in force until a complete and consistent code of laws, congenial to our habits and tastes, and adapted to our wants, can be prepared and adopted, Frequent
“An act in the statutes of New Mexico, regulating contracts between master and servant, continued and established in that territory, and consequently in this, in a modified and ameliorated form, that system of labor peculiar to Mexico, known as peonage.
“It in substance provides that a person owing a debt, or who wishes to contract a debt, may bind himself to pay that debt and subsequent advances in labor, at a stipulated price, and that if certain obligations be performed by the creditor or master on his part, the debtor or
“These obligations are rigorously enforced. But while thus subjected to the influence and placed under the almost absolute control of the creditor, the peon is not deprived of his civil rights, nor does he lose the status of a citizen. He may acquire and hold property, may vote and be elected to office, may sit upon juries, and do all that a freeman can do. It is said that in practice the system has been but little changed by the ameliorations of the law, and that the old rigorous provisions are yet enforced upon persons ignorant of their legal rights, and that under it great abuses have arisen. But, without consuming time in enumerating consequences so obvious, or arguing the inconsistency of such enactments with the organic law, I say to you that the system is founded in wrong, and will result in oppression, that it is degrading to the dignity of labor, and debases the laboring man; it is equally a disgrace and a reproach to the peon, and to the other citizens of the State whose equal by law the peon is made—it is an obstacle to education and a bar to progress. I recommend the immediate abrogation of this system, and that the creditor be left to his action for debt, or damages for a breach of contract, and the same remedy for the collection of his debt which is provided in other cases. The New Mexican law further provides that a debtor in arrest may be detained in prison five days before he can be permitted to take the poor debtor's oath. I suggest that this relic of a barbarous law be abolished, and that the debtor, upon instituting
“In the fierce conflicts for life waged by the people of this territory with the hostile Apaches, some young persons have been captured, and there being no provision made by government for their custody or support, have been placed in families as servants or laborers. These captives, so far as I have information, have been kindly treated, and in some instances have become partly civilized, and would not now voluntarily leave the persons with whom they are living.
“But though no wrong or oppression may have resulted from this relation between the parties, it is certainly liable to abuse, and if permitted to continue should be regulated by law. It is very important that reservations should be made, if they have not been, for all Indian tribes, and captives taken to them at once, that a settlement may be commenced, to which the whole tribe will eventually be taken. But where these persons have become accustomed to civilized life, and are unwilling to return to the savage state, there seems to be no good reason for compelling them to do so. I can suggest no better enactment in such cases than a system of apprenticeship similar to that existing in most of the states. It may be provided that such persons may come before the Judge of Probate of the county in which they live and assume a name, and be bound as apprentices for a term of years, in the presence and by the authority of that officer. The persons to whom they are bound should at the same time engage
“You are specifically authorized by the organic law to divide the territory into three judicial districts, to assign to each of them one of the judges who have been appointed, and to fix the times and places for holding terms of the district court. You have also the power to establish inferior courts. It will likewise be necessary to divide the territory into counties, and into legislative districts, to decide what territorial, county and town officers are required, to fix their duties, terms of office, and compensation. You are to determine the time and manner of holding elections of all elective officers and of the future meetings of the legislature, the qualifications of voters and of holding office. I have exercised some of these powers temporarily, where authority of law and a necessity for their exercise existed. Copies of the proclamations that have been issued, and the papers relating to the preliminary census, together with the election returns, and a list of all state and county officers appointed by me, will be submitted for your information. I have appointed an Attorney-General, who has performed the duties of district or county attorneys. I have also appointed a Judge of Probate, Sheriff, Register, Justices of the Peace and Constables, for
“I recommend that but few offices be created. Duties which in more populous communities are performed by several officers may here with propriety be imposed upon one, and such compensation should be paid as will secure the full time and services of competent men. If the wants of the people can be accommodated for the present by forming not more than three counties, it will to some extent relieve them from taxation that must in any event be onerous. In new territories the formation of numerous counties has laid the foundation of great and accumulating indebtedness with no commensurate advantages. In affairs of states as well as individuals economy is the surest basis of permanent prosperity.
“The proceeds of all dividend paying mines can be taxed without obstructing the development of the country, and a license and tax should be required from foreign miners. I also suggest that hereafter the discoverers of mines which are taken up and recorded be required to locate next to the discovery claim one claim which shall be the property of the territory. I further recommend that a large proportion of the money, realized from taxing the mining interests, be set apart as a fund for raising, arming and supporting in the field companies of citizens, organized as rangers, to operate against the hostile
“The legislature and the Governor are also required to locate the permanent capital of the territory. Your superior knowledge of the territory and of the wishes and interests of the people, will enable you to determine that question satisfactorily. I can only urge that no considerations of local advantage, or sectional feeling and jealousy, should be suffered to control a question of so great public importance, but that a point should be selected which will become the centre of population, and aid the development of the Territory.
“The claims and advantages of the different sites should be carefully weighed, and a location be made that will not require an immediate change. The advantages to the territory of a permanent settlement of this question are too obvious to require enumeration.
“Self-government and universal education are inseparable. The one can be exercised only as the other is enjoyed. The common school, the high school, and the university, should all be established, and are worthy of your fostering care, The first duty of the legislators of a free state is to make, as far as lies in their power,
“The act organizing the territory of New Mexico provides, that when the lands in this territory shall be surveyed under the direction of the government of the United States, preparatory to bringing the same into market, sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six in each township are reserved for the purpose of being applied to schools in said territory, and in the states and territories hereafter to be created out of the same. It does not seem to me that any portion of this donation can be made immediately available.
“The act of July 2, 1862, the operation of which has been extended by an act of the present Congress, has provided for the establishment of an agricultural college in every state or territory that shall avail itself of its provisions, and comply with its conditions. I recommend that you take the necessary steps to enable the territory to accept this donation. The only school which I have visited in the territory, though doubtless there are others, is one at the old Mission church of San Xavier. If any such institution
“The most extensive and important interest of this territory is the mineral wealth. Its development will be greatly promoted by well considered and liberal legislation. The miners may with propriety be permitted to adopt regulations for the placer mines, which are soon exhausted, under such restrictions as will prevent a monopoly of claims. The interests of those engaged in silver, gold, and other mines worked by machinery, as well as the advancement and prosperity of the territory, require the adoption of a mining code, and, if practicable, one that has received judicial interpretation. Moreover, if the mining states and territories regulate the possessory rights to such mines, as they may legally do, by laws which are equitable, adapted to their peculiar situation, and calculated to secure the development of the mineral, one argument for the interference of the federal government is removed. The people of these communities have regarded with the greatest solicitude the propositions which have recently been made for the taxation, sale or exclusive possession by government of the mineral lands. That abuses now exist which should be remedied by legislation is very apparent. Mining districts in this territory are created and divided by the votes of a few persons, records are imperfectly
“The scheme of taxation and seigniorage proposed in Congress would effectually drive the people from the mineral lands, Without expressly providing for their exclusion. The whole country will be vastly more benefited by encouraging by its policy the discovery and constant working of the mines, thereby permanently increasing wealth and the sources of revenue, than it would be by any sum which might be realized by the present or prospective sale of the mineral lands. Moreover such sale would result in monopoly—it would put this important interest beyond the control of Congress, and would drive from the frontier the prospector and the pioneer—the vanguard of that army of occupation which has built Up an empire on the shores of the Pacific. The mining law of Mexico gives to the discoverer of a mine the right to open and work it, and makes his title absolute and perfect so long as it is worked. If this policy be adopted I believe that the discovery and development of our, mineral wealth will be assisted and secured. It gives full scope to the enterprise and energy of our people, and would have fully vindicated its wisdom in Mexico, but for the distracted condition of that unhappy country. The ordinance is liberal, equitable
“Persons during the past few years have acquired mining claims and possessory rights to real estate, which if continued and improved should be recognized. Many have abandoned their interests on account of Indian difficulties, the rebellion, or because they believe them to be
“For many years, even before it was acquired by the United States, attention was directed to this territory as the most feasible route for a railroad to the Pacific. The severity of the seasons, and the great obstacles presented by mountain chains seriously impede the progress of the road now building, and must greatly enhance the cost of constructing and running it. These difficulties have forcibly suggested the practicability of a route through New Mexico and Arizona. It has indeed all the advantages to make it the highway between the oceans. In 1853-54 explorations to determine this question were made by persons who had no previous acquaintance with the country, but who in spite of all the obstacles they encountered reported that practicable routes existed. Recent explorations have removed all objections to this line by discovering easier grades in shorter distances. Both north
“The legislative assembly of New Mexico, has taken the initiatory steps by passing an act incorporating the Kansas, New Mexico and Arizona railroad company, with ample powers and liberal provisions. I suggest reciprocal action on our part to advance the progress of this beneficient undertaking.
“Since the discontinuance of the overland mail in 1861, and until the action of the present Congress, no mail routes have been established in any part of this territory. We have been indebted to the courtesy of the military authorities for the means of communication between the principal points in the territory, and the mail routes in New Mexico and California. The attention of the Post Office Department has been repeatedly called to the deficiency in mail facilities, but so far without avail. The wants of our increasing population require that a mail route should be established from some point in New Mexico through this territory to California, and from Tubac or Tucson northerly through this point, connecting at Fort Mohave with a route to Utah, together with branches of like service to La Paz and the other principal points. It is recommended that you memorialize the Post
“The care and supervision of the friendly Indians is by federal laws entrusted to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, while the work Of subjugating the hostile tribes is committed to the military power.
“The action of a legislature on any question relating to these subjects is ordinarily unnecessary, but our isolated and remote situation, the large number of Indians in our midst that might be combined against us, the long hostility and brutal ferocity of some tribes, compel us to avail ourselves of all means for self defense and protection. The Pimas, Papagoes, and Maricopas, our well tried and faithful allies, maintain the same friendly intercourse that has always existed between them and us. I hope that nothing will be left undone on our part to strengthen and perpetuate amicable relations with them and other friendly tribes, by removing all just causes of complaint and promptly redressing all grievances.
“On the other hand, to the Apache has been transmitted for a century, an inheritance of hate and hostility to the white man. He is a murderer by hereditary descent—a thief by prescription. He and his ancestors have subsisted on the stock they have stolen and the trains they have plundered. They have exhausted the ingenuity of fiends to invent more excruciating tortures for the unfortunate prisoners they may take, so that the traveller acquainted with their warfare, surprised and unable to escape, reserves the last shot in his revolver for his own head.
“When the troops were removed from this territory at the commencement of the rebellion, it was nearly depopulated by their murders. They have made southern Arizona and northern Mexico a wilderness and a desolation. But for them mines would be worked, innumerable sheep and cattle would cover these plains, and some of the bravest and most energetic men that were ever the pioneers of a new country, and who now fill bloody and unmarked graves, would be living to see their brightest anticipations realized. It is useless to speculate on the origin of this feeling—or inquire which party was in the right or wrong. It is enough to know that it is relentless and unchangeable. They respect no flag of truce, ask and give no quarter, and make a treaty only that, under the guise of friendship, they may rob and steal more extensively and with greater impunity. As to them one policy only can be adopted. A war must be prosecuted until they are compelled to submit and go upon a reservation. This policy has been pursued by the energetic and accomplished officer who commands this department, in his war with the Navajoes, who for more than a century have desolated New Mexico, and who were probably the most warlike tribe within our limits, He has been completely successful, and is now moving them to a reservation. He has commenced operations for a similar campaign against the Apaches, by establishing a large post in the heart of their country, and by moving actively against them from several points. If he is sustained and supplied with troops, in a very brief time the terrible Apache will be formidable no
“I learn, though unofficially, that a reservation for the Apaches has been established at the Bosque Redondo, with the Navajoes, and am informed by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, that he has selected a reservation in the valley of the Colorado River for the other tribes who are disposed to be friendly, and for whom no reservation had been made. This would segregate the friendly and the hostile tribes and would remove the former from the influence of the latter, and from collision with the miners.
Before the reservation can support this population, an irrigating canal must be opened, for which an appropriation should be made by Congress. The communication of the Superintendent on the subject is submitted for your information, and it is recommended that you memorialize Congress for an appropriation adequate to the purpose. I have already suggested that you provide for forming companies of rangers, who shall co-operate with other troops that may be sent against the Apaches. During the past year our citizens have voluntarily organized companies, and have carried the war into the Indian country and dealt them Some severe blows.
“Three expeditions were raised and led by Lieut.-Colonel King S. Woolsey, who, with his men, are entitled to some acknowledgment at your hands, for the energy, skill and public spirit they have manifested.
“In conclusion, gentlemen, I congratulate you on the brilliant promise for the future of Arizona. Nature has indeed been lavish of the gifts which make a populous and wealthy State; and for every blessing withheld there is ample compensation. It is true that we have one navigable river only, but that is the Colorado of the West. It has been navigated for five hundred miles, and its capacity for improvement has never been tested. The arable land of the Territory is not extensive when compared with its whole area, but the fertile and well watered valleys of the Gila, the Salado, and the Verde, have once, and will again support a large population. The climate of northern and central Arizona is unsurpassed. The great altitude tempers the summer heat and gives a pure and exhilarating atmosphere, While the excessive cold and deep snows of northern latitudes are unknown. It is peculiarly adapted to the labor and pursuit of mining. For grazing and stock raising it is unequalled. The richest grasses flourish in profusion and cure into hay upon the ground. The Norther, so destructive in Other
“No apprehension need be felt that the country will be again abandoned, and the desolated homes of these hardy pioneers only add to the ruins which are so thickly scattered about us, the memorials of another lost battle in the grand conflict of civilization with barbarism. History, while it records the failures of the past, is for us replete with encouragement and hope for the future. The Aztec has been here, and the fallen walls of deserted cities, and his degenerate descendant looking in vain to the morning sun for the coming of the Montezuma to restore his lost empire, are the only relics of his civilization and his race. The Spaniard too has slowly retreated before the fierce assaults of the relentless Apache, but where the foot of the Anglo-Saxon is once firmly planted, he stands secure, and before the clang of his labor, the Indian and the antelope disappear together. The tide of our civilization has no refluent Wave, but rolls steadily onward over ocean and continent.
“We are far removed from the scenes of the conflict, but we can express our sympathy with our brethren in their efforts to sustain the Government under which we have lived so prosperously and happily, and renew our fealty and pledge our devotion to the Constitution and the Union. From its successful conflict with rebellion the Government will emerge firm in its integrity, and purer and stronger from the ordeal through which it has passed. Its triumph will bring to Arizona peace, protection, and the blessings that follow in their train. We may not fight the battles for the Union, but if we rightly perform the work entrusted to us, we shall in our day, do our part to advance the glory and prosperity of our country. Hereafter, when the trials of the hour are forgotten, we may boast, that in the performance of our duties in the day of peril, when dangers encircled our path, we followed the flag of the Republic to the most remote region of its domain; that under its folds we established the principles for which it has waved in the battle and the storm, and that by our efforts another has been added to the commonwealth of States.